What a year 2020 has been. I could not have predicted how crazy things would be, given the Pandemic, but despite things being very scary, stressful, and uncertain, reading has given me a grateful escape from my current worries. This year, though it’s been difficult and trying, has been a really great year of reading.
I’ve structured this post after Marshmallow Harmonies’s post, because she seems to have summed up her year perfectly, so definitely take a look her post here!
Anyway, let’s get to the stats:
Number of Books You Read: 100, which happened to be my goal, so I made it!!!
Pages Read: 26,161
Average Length of Book: 290
Average Rating: 3.6 Stars
Best Books of 2021
| The Quantum Weirdness of the Almost-Kiss by Amy Noelle Parks | If you’ve read my blog at all in the past year, you’ll have heard me gush about this book. It’s super sweet, I love the characters, and the writing is humorous and so smart. I got lucky with this being a 5-star read, as it was the first book I read in 2021. It definitely set a precedent for an overall fantastic reading year!
| Song of the Court by Katy Farina | This middle-grade graphic novel really surprised me. I was drawn in by the cover, but I didn’t expect such a lovely, beautiful story! It’s all about finding out what makes you happy and connecting with other people who share your passions. Both the writing and the illustrations are fabulous. If you need a pick-me-up, it’s a short, sweet story.
| Ancestor Approved ed. Cynthia Leitich Smith | If you’ve ever wanted to know what a powwow is like, this is a great book to read! It’s made up of inter-connected short stories by a whole host of native authors that focus on different aspects of a powwow. It’s such a fascinating read, it’s beautifully done, and I highly recommend reading it. Even if you don’t normally read middle-grade, this one is well worth picking up, if only to read a book by native authors.
| The Heart Principle by Helen Hoang | This book blew me away. I already love Hoang’s romance series featuring neurodiverse characters, but this one is truly a masterpiece. It’s so moving and beautiful. I felt a wave of emotions reading it and I connected with the characters so deeply, I think it’s truly her best work to-date. It’s hard to say which of her books is my favorite, but this is definitely in the top slot. If you haven’t read her books, you really should. They are romance, but the storytelling is just so strong that you will definite get so much more out of it.
| Other Words for Home by Jasmine Warga | I was truly surprised by this middle-grade story, but I guess I shouldn’t have been, since it Newbery nominee. It’s a beautiful book with a really important message. The author does such an amazing job of portraying a young, immigrant girl’s experiences living in an American where so many people judge her based on her appearance and her religion. It’s such an important book and I cannot recommend it enough.
| XOXO by Axie Oh | This is just a very cute, very fun YA romance. I went into it with so much excitement and it delivered on everything. It’s exactly what I wanted and there is something so satisfying about that! The characters are interesting, the story pulls you in, and it has just that perfect balance of sappy, young love and trope-iness. I just enjoyed the ride and getting lost in the story for a while.
I would love to say more about all the amazing books I’ve read this year, but that would make a very long list, indeed, and so I just leave you with this: check out these amazing books! They are awesome and deserve to be read!
Luckily, this year, I didn’t read too many books that I disliked. However, these are a few of the ones that really didn’t do it for me. Wench was just really not my thing. A typical YA fantasy, but it just wasn’t written very well and it dragged so much. It took a lot for me to finish, and I really only kept with it because I received an ARC of this one, so I felt obligated to stick with it.
Vita Nostra was a big disappointment. I wanted to like it because it sounded so interesting! A sci-fi/fantasy that seemed quite magical but ended up just being so, so bizarre and even boring. It was very, very long and I just didn’t enjoy it. Starless Sea was similar – just not what I was hoping for and mostly boring.
Cutting for Stone I read for a book club. It was definitely not a book I would pick on my own and I really didn’t enjoy it. It was way too long and I didn’t really like any of the characters in it. It was also just very clinical and medical for long stretches and I just didn’t find it interesting at all.
Most Surprising Books
As I said earlier, I really didn’t expect Other Words for Home to be so good! I read it for the “Reading Women 2021” challenge and it just really hit home for me. I definitely recommend it. Pride and Premeditation was a book I was hoping to like because it’s based off of one of my favorite Jane Austen books, and it was a lot better than I expected. I’m definitely looking forward to the next book in the series!
I don’t typically end up liking literary fiction, which is why Lee’s Free Food for Millionaires really surprised me. I enjoyed it immensely and the writing was really spectacular.
Lastly, I wasn’t expecting to like the second installment of Check, Please! since I didn’t love the first one as much as I’d hoped. This one definitely surprised me with how much I enjoyed it. I think I liked the story focus in this one more and I think I was more used to who everyone is in the story. It was just a surprise but a happy one at that!
Book I Should Have Read Sooner
Heartstopper by Alice Oseman
Honestly, I wish I’d read this book sooner so that I’d have had such a heartwarming piece of fluff in my life for longer. This book, this series, is just so warm and lovely and makes me happy to read. I am a huge fan now and I can’t believe I took this long to finally give this series a go.
I’m really looking forward to the Netflix series. I’m excited to see how they translate this story to a visual medium. I absolutely love the illustrations, so it will be very different seeing these characters portrayed by real people, but I’m hopeful that they will do them justice!
Best New Series
Heartstopper by Alice Oseman is a graphic novel series about British high school students, focusing on LGBTQIA+ themes. It is adorable, heartwarming, and binge-worthy and I look forward to any new installments.
Pride and Premeditation by Tirzah Price is a new murder/mystery series that also exists as a retelling of Jane Austen’s Pride & Prejudice, which is so exciting to me! Two of my favorite things coming together! I really enjoyed this first book and I’m looking forward to seeing where Price takes this series.
Raven by Cami Garcia & Gabriel Picolo is a graphic novel re-telling of the Teen Titans origin story. I’m really not a DC fan, but I’ve kind of grown up with Teen Titans in view and I do enjoy aspects to this superhero team. I’ve read this book and the second installment, Beast Boy, as well as the third, Beast Boy Loves Raven, and I’m interested enough to see where the series takes me.
Six Crimson Cranes by Elizabeth Lim was so, so good and no, I did not realize it was only the first in a series! I have no idea if it’s just a duology or if there will be more, but I am hooked, it’s too late. I will wait with frustrated anticipation for the second book in this amazing YA fantasy series, a retelling of the Grimm’s Six Swans fairytale.
Favorite Book Covers
- Anna and Quan from The Heart Principle – This is a match made in heaven! I loved seeing how they complete each other throughout the book. There are so many references to being broken/feeling whole that surround them, I just love that they’ve found each other and can continue to support and love each other (plus, they are super steamy together!)
- Shiori and Takkan from Six Crimson Cranes – They are a very sweet couple, a budding new romance, but I’m almost positive this book is going to introduce a love angle, so who knows where this will go. I’m rooting for them!
- Nick and Charlie from Heartstopper – Adorable. Adorable, adorable, adorable! They’re just so cute together and I’m so happy for them and want them to go the distance.
- Evie and Caleb from The Quantum Weirdness of an Almost-Kiss – as usually, I love a really cute, nerdy couple! This book is just one long string of me saying “Just kiss!!!” They’re both just so adorable and their romance is the kind that I wish I had – friends that become something more. They know each other so well and they care for and support each other unlike anyone else can. So cute!
Books to Reread in 2021
I’ve kept two on here from last year, since I didn’t get a chance to read them. I’ve added Vicious because it’s been too long and I want to read the sequel this year, so this is preparation and refresher. I’m continuing my re-read of the Old Kingdom series with Lirael in preparation for reading newer books in the series that I did not get around to reading when they first came out. Wish me luck on this!
Top Priority Books in 2021
Many of these are ARCs, but a few are books I’ve purchased and have still not read. I have a goal to focus on books I own, to #startonyourshelfathon it up again, only even more! So, I’m definitely going to read these books this coming year, just you wait and see!